U Visa Petition for Kentucky Immigrants
Get Help Obtaining a U Visa
Our Kentucky immigration attorneys can help determine whether you meet the criteria for a U Visa Petition.
Are you living and working in the United States as a non-citizen, and were you or your family members the victims of a crime? If so, you may be able to obtain a type of visa, called a U nonimmigrant visa (U visa), that will allow you and your qualifying family members to remain in the United States while you work cooperatively with law enforcement and government officials to investigate or prosecute the criminal activity.
While the U visa program is potentially helpful to victims of serious crimes, roadblocks often arise. U.S. immigration laws are complicated, and there are specific qualifications for this program that you have to meet; local officials often don’t cooperate and make it more difficult to get this visa, and applicants often face long delays. As a result, many victims of crimes who should be granted visas are faced with so many obstacles that they are left without the hoped-for visa.
If you are a crime victim who hopes to get a U nonimmigrant visa, you can expedite the process and wind up in a better position to achieve your goals by having an experienced Kentucky immigration lawyer fight for the immigration status you deserve.
The Kentucky visa lawyers at Carman Fullerton, PLLC are here to help victims of crime get the visa they need to remain in the U.S. We know immigration laws, the system and its problems, and how to take the best approach to get you on the path to citizenship. We are aware of how important it is for families to be able to stay together and be allowed to live and work in the United States. We will aggressively fight for your rights.
If you or your qualifying family members were the victims of criminal activity in the United States, the sooner you speak with us the better. Consult with our dedicated Kentucky immigration lawyers to discuss the facts of your individual situation, determine whether you and your loved ones qualify for a U visa, and find the best way to move forward.
Why Choose Our U Visa Immigration Attorneys
There are many attorneys in Kentucky, and it’s important for you to find one that you feel comfortable with and who has the necessary experience helping immigrants. Here are some reasons why we think Carman Fullerton is your best choice:
- We are experienced and bilingual. Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton and Attorney Dan Carman both speak Spanish and have accommodated those who speak other languages as well. Our team of attorneys has many years of experience representing clients involved in immigration cases of all types. We have worked with clients who have entered the United States both legally and illegally. We have helped non-citizens from all walks of life, with or without status, to fight to remain in the U.S.
- We understand what you are going through and that you may feel vulnerable and confused, so we do everything possible to make you feel safe, listened to and understood.
- We are recognized in our field. Dan Carman is a member of various local and national Bar Associations. He has previously been named in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers.
- We know immigration and criminal law. Attorney Kirby Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law and he represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has practiced criminal defense and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status.
- We are available 24/7 for client emergencies.
The U.S. legal system is complicated, and making mistakes could result in consequences as severe as facing deportation. Immigrants, especially those who may not speak fluent English and who may be unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system, should not try to represent themselves.
The compassionate immigration attorneys at Carman Fullerton know what you are going through and the importance of being granted a visa. We have many years of experience as Kentucky immigration lawyers and know the ins and outs of the legal system and how to petition for a visa. You can benefit from our knowledge, fluency in English and legal education.
How Our U Visa Lawyer Helps You
Every person who works at Carman Fullerton— lawyers and support staff — shares our commitment to our clients. When you have our team on your side, we will:
- Investigate your case, show how you were a crime victim and how you are helpful to law enforcement, and make sure law enforcement provides the certification you deserve. We will interview witnesses and first responders, examine police and medical reports and records, and gather evidence such as photos and videos from surveillance cameras.
- Coach you to make sure you know how to answer questions and handle any interviews so you say the right thing to benefit your case.
- Make sure everything is done properly and forms are filed correctly and in a timely manner.
- Advocate for you if your claim is denied.
Our Kentucky U visa immigration lawyers will be there throughout the entire process, answering your questions and addressing your concerns.
Kentucky Immigration Lawyers Explain What is the U Visa
In 2000, U.S. Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (the Act), creating the U visa. The U visa was created to provide humanitarian relief to crime victims, living in the United States without lawful status, who provide assistance to the authorities in prosecuting the crime.
Congress limited the number of U visas that can be issued each fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) to 10,000. Anyone applying for a U visa after the limit is reached is placed on a waiting list and action is deferred. Those on the waiting list and those in interim status — awaiting adjudication of their U visa petition — are eligible to receive employment authorization (i.e., a work permit).
If the U visa petition is favorably adjudicated, the U visa petitioner and their derivatives are given permission to live and work in the United States. After three years of U visa status, a petitioner and their derivatives may adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Qualifying family members of the petitioner who were not given derivative U visa status may also apply for LPR status.
Today, U visa petitions are adjudicated by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
U Visa Immigration Lawyer Explains How To Qualify
Qualifying for a U Visa is not easy. To be eligible, you must meet the following four requirements:
- The person must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as the result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity;
- the person must have information about that criminal activity;
- the person must have been helpful, is currently being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
- the criminal activity violated laws of the United States.
To be a qualifying crime, the crime must have occurred in the United States.
There are several types of “qualifying criminal activity”—an activity involving one or more actions that violate U.S. criminal law—including:
- Abusive sexual contact
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment
- Felonious assault
- Human trafficking
- Sexual assault
- Unlawful criminal restraint.
The non-citizen victims of these crimes often do not report them to law enforcement agencies for fear of being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and removed (i.e., deported). The U visa was created to help victims of these crimes and law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting all victims, regardless of immigration status.
U Visa Immigration Lawyer Explains How Victims Get a U Visa
To be eligible for a U visa, a victim must have a “certification of helpfulness” from a certifying agency. Certifying agencies are federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges or other authorities that investigate or prosecute criminal activity. In some instances, agencies like Child Protective Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor can also qualify as certifying agencies because they conduct criminal investigations. Whatever agency the victim is working with must certify that the victim is cooperating in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity.
It is even possible for non-citizen victims to petition for the U visa from outside the United States. If the victim is not allowed to enter the United States as a foreign national, the victim must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility by submitting an application for advance permission to enter as a nonimmigrant to USCIS.
What Happens After You Get a U Visa
Once a person obtains a U visa, it is possible for them to apply for a green card (i.e., LPR status) if they meet the following qualifications:
- They must have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years since the date of their admission under the U visa;
- they must not have unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since receiving the U visa; and
- the certifying agency must determine that the victim’s continued presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds to ensure continuation of a cohesive family or is otherwise in national or public interest.
Qualifying family members of the victim may also apply for green cards, either because they hold a derivative U visa (obtained when the victim obtained the U visa), or even if they have never held a derivative U visa, if:
- The qualifying family member was never admitted to the United States under a U visa, and
- It can be established that either the family member or the U visa applicant would suffer extreme hardship if the qualifying family member were not allowed to remain in or be admitted to the United States.
Get Help Applying for a U Visa
Applying for a U visa is a complicated process, but crime victims do not have to fight for their rights alone. If you are in the United States without status, you have been the victim of a qualifying criminal activity, and you believe your knowledge could help law enforcement put the criminals behind bars, you need to talk with the dedicated Kentucky immigration lawyers at Carman Fullerton, PLLC today.
The criminal activity you have been victimized by needs to be stopped before you or your loved ones are harmed any further, and before other noncitizens are harmed.